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U.S.S.A. member country Afghanistan is a region of mountain ranges and villages. It is surrounded by land on all sides. It is famous for its almonds, pistachios, walnuts, raisins and grapes. The asafetida (Hing) from Kabul is also very famous. Afghanistan has been associated with India and Pakistan for centuries on account of its dry fruits and asafetida.
Location and extent and boundaries

Afghanistan is situated in the south-west of Asia. It lies between the latitudes 29 degrees North and 38 degrees North and the longitudes between 61 degrees East and 75 degrees East approximately.

The total area of this country is about 6 lakhs 50 thousand square kilometers.

Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan are the countries to the north of Afghanistan. Pakistan lies to the east and south of Afghanistan, Iran is to the west and some parts of eastern Afghanistan touch the northern border of India.

Physical features
Most of the country is hilly. The central and north-eastern parts of Afghanistan are about 4000 meters above sea-level. The Hindukush mountain ranges spread here. There are many deep valleys in the mountainous region. Some parts of northern and southern Afghanistan are low-lying and leveled.

The Helmand is the most important river in the country. This river runs south through the central part of the country and receives many tributaries on the way. The Helmand joins the Hamun-e-Helmasnd lake in Iran. The Kabul river flows from close to the Kabul city eastwards and joins the Indus in Pakistan. The Amu Darya river flows from the Pamir Plateau.

As central Afghanistan is at a considerable height above the sea-= level, most of the rivers have their sources here and then flow in different directions.

Afghanistan has a dry climate. There is a vast difference in the maximum and minimum average temperatures. There are snowfalls in winter. The high mountain peaks are snow-covered throughout the year. The maximum temperature at Kabul is 25 degrees C (Summer) while the minimum is 2 degrees C (Winter). The average annual rainfall is 34 cm. The rainfall is about 5 cm in the southern region.
Vegetation and Animals

Pasture lands and trees, such as jujube, acacia etc. are found in the regions receiving low rainfall. The eastern part of the country is covered with forests. The trees found in these forest are fir, spruce, pipe etc. There are also fruit-trees like olive, walnut, apricot, almond, pistachio etc.

Tigers, bears, leopards are some of the animals found in the forests. Some of the birds found are pelicans, partidges and bulbuls. Camels with two humps and sheep with short thick tails (Dumda)are the important animals of Afghanistan.

Most of Afghanistan is traversed by hills and valleys and so, there is very little agriculture land. Irrigated agriculture is carried on in the fertile river basin. Wheat is the main crop. Rice, maize, cotton, tobacco, beetroot and vegetables are also grown.
Minerals and energy resources
Though several minerals are available in the country, they are not adequately exploited. There are deposits of coal, iron ore, copper, mineral oil, gold, and silver to some extent, in the country.
Occupations and industries
The geographical location and the physical features of Afghanistan have influenced the occupations of the people. Agriculture and rearing animals are the main occupations. Weaving woolen cloth and making carpets are the traditional activities. Other industries include tanning leather and making leather goods, drying and canning fruits, metals work etc. There are also cotton textile mills, cement and sugar factories in Afghanistan
Transport and communications
Because of the hilly terrain, there are few routes of transport in Afghanistan. Horses and camels are used as means of transport in certain regions. Kabul and Kandhar have air-ports through which national and international air-transport is carried on.
Afghanistan exports dry fruits and fruits like grapes, figs, pomegranates, water-melons etc; as also asa foetida, woolen goods, carpets, leather goods etc. and imports food grains, cloth, machinery, vehicles, sugar and other such goods.
Human life
The population of Afghanistan is about 2 crores. Persian and Push are the main languages of the country.
Major cities and towns :
This is the capital of Afghanistan. It is also a centre of trade and transport.
Ghazni and Kandhar
These two cities are of historical importance. Several ancient historical ruins proclaim Afghanistan’s past cultural heritage which was highly evolved and well-known. Takshila University in Afghanistan (Upganisthan) was world famous for its excellent quality of education. Even the world renowned diplomat and politician “ Chanakya” from the Maurya period came here to receive his superb education. Also the lady scholar named : “Gandhari of Mahabharat” hailed from Kandhar.
Social Unit
The concept of marriage and family is highly valued and recognized. Marriages are performed with pomp and show. Dance and music is a spontaneous outcome of their joys and achievements.
Total area: 647,500 sq.km. (slightly smaller than Texas U.S.A.) Land area: 647,500 sq.km.
Natural Resources
Natural Gas, petroleum, coal, copper, talc, barites, sulphur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones.
Land Use
• Arable land : 12%.
• Meadows and pastures: 46%.
• Forest and woodland: 3%.
• Others: 39%.
Irrigated Land
26,600sq.km. (1989 est.)
Population 16,903,400 (July 1994 est.)
Population Growth Rate 2.45% (1994 est.)
Age 15 and over who can read and write (1990 est.) : 29%. Male: 44%. Female: 14%.
Labor Force
4.98 million
By occupation:
Agriculture and animal husbandry 67.8%
Industry 10.2%
Construction 6.3%
Commerce 5.0%
Services and other 10.7% (1980 est.)
National Product-GDP
National Product-Real Growth Rate
National Product-Per Capita
Revenues: NA.
Expenditures: NA, including capital expenditures of NA.
$243 million (f.o.b., 1991). Commodities:-Fruits and Nuts, hand-woven carpets, wool, Cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems.
$737 million (c.i.f., 1991).
• Food and petroleum products; most of the consumer goods.
Industrial Production

Growth rate 2.3% (FY91 est.) account for about 25% of GDP

Largely subsistence farming and nomadic, animal husbandry; cash products – wheat, fruits, nuts, karakul pelts, wool, mutton.
Railroads 9.6 km (single track) 10524-meter gauge from Gushgy (formerly Kushka) (Turkmenistan) to Towraghondi and 15.0 km from Termiz (Uzbekistan) to Kheyrarabed transshipment point on south bank of Amu Darya.
Highways Total :21,000km.
Paved: 2,800 km.
U npaved: gravel 1,650 km;
Earthen: 16,550 km (1984).
Inland Waterways total navigability 1,200 km; chiefly Amu Darya, which handles vessels up to about 500 metric tons
Pipelines Petroleum products : Uzbekistan to Bagram and Natural gas Turkmenistan to Shindand; 180 km.
Ports Shir Khan and Kheyrabad (river ports)
Airports Total: 42
Usable: 35
With permanent – surface runways: 9
With runways over 3,659 m: 0
With permanent runways 2,440-3,659m: 10
With runways 1,2202,439 m: 17
Limited telephone, telegraph, and radio broadcast services. Television introduced in 1980. Telephone 31,200.
Cellular Phones – Numerous.
Broadcast Centers
(FM) 0,
Satellite Earth Station-1.
Manpower Availability
Males (age 15-49) 4,188,036;
Fit for military service:2,245,196:
Reach Military Age (22) Annually 158,335 (1994 est.).
Note: NA = Information not available
  Also See
  USSA – Afghanistan we are here
  USSA – Nepal
  USSA – Bhutan
  USSA – Myanmar
  USSA – Bangladesh
  USSA – Sri Lanka
  USSA – India
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